Should I ask potential tenants to fill out an application form?

I was wondering if I should ask potential tenants to fill in an application form which I will create myself asking about employment, earnings, time in job etc if they are interested in my property before they press ‘rent now’. Usually, an agency would do this but as I don’t have one I thought it best to create my own application form. The other alternative is to ask them when they view the property but I must admit I do feel awkward asking personal questions. Are there any other landlords that get interested tenants to fill out a form or do they interview them when they view the property?

i have just interviewed a few potentials. At the beginning i say “you do not have to answer any of my questions if you do not want to. This will affect how i feel about your application” So up to them


That sounds like a good response. I will also mention that I have to ask these questions for insurance and legal purposes. If they are serious about the property, I don’t think they will be offended.

That’s what you literally say?

yes. Out of several people no one missed an answer I also say they can ask me anything

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Seems to be working. May I borrow it? We’ll be advertising a flat in about 10 days or so.

it works for me Try it out

@Clair, see this post too:

David, thanks for sharing that information with me. I have been thinking of providing my tenants with an information sheet instead of a questionaire which will show how much much they need to earn in order to be able to afford the rent (usually 3 times their income). I am also going to list all the bills e.g council tax so that they have a good idea of how much their outgoings will be. I will also let them know that I will have to do reference checks in order to satisfy my insurance company and to make sure the letting is legal (right to rent). I am going to ask them to read it and get back to me with any questions before they decide to press ‘rent now’. This might be better than asking them to fill out a questionnaire.

Does anyone know what information is needed for the open rent reference check? Is it just the full name, mobile number and email? I think this is a new discussion so I will create a new thread on this question.

I would recommend asking a handful of questions prior to the viewing, which I always ask during a phone call. You can then go for a more detailed form when youve chosen someone.

It is necessary to ask a few questions to understand a tenants situation (family or single and sharing, why are they looking to move, employment). This can be useful to identify a prospective tenant. I have always met the tenants at the property and given them a viewing. You can be a bit chatty with them and further understand their situation.
At this point you can discuss references and affordability checks. Many years ago when my wife and I first started letting out property, we joined the NLA and a landlord blog. We were given lots of useful info including a comprehensive list of questions and what documents to request to enable reference checks and affordability. This included the last 3 bank statements (just name and address - no sort or account number). This is essential to understand affordability. Please note, we view a copy of the statements in front of the tenant (incoming and outgoings) and hand it back to them. The most recent 3 months is usually enough to identify affordability (and any poor spending habits).

Most definitely pre qualify with questions and suitability, non completion = non acceptance, if they cannot bother.

Remember right to rent obligations
Also good to have other questions like how will your rent be funded in addition to total net income

Thanks Brian and Matt for your helpful information. It was difficult last time I rented out my property via an online agency which didn’t do enough prescreening so I found myself in difficult situations having to turn tenants down who should have not even got to viewing stage. I have designed a form on google forms which will help hopefully. It can be emailed to tenants before or after viewing, I not sure what the law is with asking for personal data e.g how much do you earn etc… However, at least with this information you can let potential tenants know if they can afford the property instead of waiting for references to come through.

I ask some really basic questions for tenants to answer on enquiry, dismissing those who give questionable responses or insufficient information. I then follow up with a phone call and ask some more in depth questions about their income, circumstances, who will live in property, have they had any CCJ’s etc., can they provide a Guarantor if needed.

I try to make this pretty informal and try to get to know the potential tenant, much better than completing a form. I will then choose 4 or 5 people to view and offer to the tenant i feel most comfortable with. It can be a bit time consuming but time well spent from both the landlord and tenant perspective.

Asking a few questions will also probably help to reduce the number of no-shows for viewings. Last time I posted a property it was quite common that people would arrange a booking and then don’t turn up (and would get shirty, or not pick up if you call to ask if they are still coming when they don’t show up on time)

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When I advertise my properties I always state the minimum income required to pass a credit check. I use an online calculator. I then ask them to call me. The first question I ask is do they have the right to live and work in the Uk, the fine for not checking (you need proof) are horrendous. General questions about their work, salary, why they are moving etc etc. I then set a day and a 2 hour window to do all the viewings so as not to disturb my current tenant.
I’ve never had a potential tenant refuse to give information as they know they will be asked the same when/if they are referenced.

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